Better Ways to Help Bike Transit -

Equipment and On Road Behaviour, Laws and Rules. Cycling Promotion and Advocacy

Better Ways to Help Bike Transit -

Postby Aushiker » Wed Dec 29, 2010 7:00 pm

Hi

I know the concept of driver responsibility has been promoted before but it is good to see "mainstream" columnists expressing similar views.

Change the legal relationship between pedestrians, cyclists and drivers. In boating, the slowest, smallest vessel has priority, generally speaking. Thus the motorboater looks out first for the sailboater, not the other way around.

If drivers knew their insurance rates would go up if they hit a cyclist, they would be more cautious. Something similar should happen here. Although the passage of “Elle’s law” helped, right now, when a driver hits a cyclist or a pedestrian, there is still no presumption of fault, even if just for liability purposes.

That should change. If drivers knew their insurance companies would raise their rates or cancel their policies if they hit a cyclist or pedestrian, they would be more cautious when turning onto a crosswalk or opening a car door. Right now, more people don’t bicycle because it’s simply still too dangerous, even with bike lanes. From my studies of the Netherlands and other bike-saturated places, it is the proper arrangement of these legal lines that is even more important than the painted lines on the streets marking a bike lane.


I feel that Alan Marshall has some more good points to make in his posting in the New York Times.

Andrew
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by BNA » Wed Dec 29, 2010 7:20 pm

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Re: Better Ways to Help Bike Transit -

Postby trailgumby » Wed Dec 29, 2010 7:20 pm

Here here.
"People have a right to their own opinions, but not their own facts. Evidence must be located, not created, and opinions not backed by evidence cannot be given much weight." -- James W Loewen

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Re: Better Ways to Help Bike Transit -

Postby russellgarrard » Wed Dec 29, 2010 8:00 pm

I think it should be a given. But there should also be a clause that if the 'cyclist' was being a complete twat and doing something really stupid, then the onus should naturally fall back on the cyclist. Unfortunately in this country if you give a d**khead on a bicycle open slather they'll abuse it...

Fortunately there's less and less d**kheads out there on bicycles
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Re: Better Ways to Help Bike Transit -

Postby human909 » Wed Dec 29, 2010 9:32 pm

Some good points but I was stuck on this phrase: "In boating, the slowest, smallest vessel has priority, generally speaking."
:shock:

Um, isn't it the other way around? I'm pretty sure it is. Its alot harder changing the course and speed of an oil tanker vs and small little dinghy or tug.
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Re: Better Ways to Help Bike Transit -

Postby Mulger bill » Wed Dec 29, 2010 9:39 pm

It used to be "steam gives way to sail". Things change, rightly so with megaships.

While the idea has merit, the cynic in me can see the moron element of riders and peds using it as an excuse for even more moronic acts. There's gotta be a balanced approach.
...whatever the road rules, self-preservation is the absolute priority for a cyclist when mixing it with motorised traffic.
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Re: Better Ways to Help Bike Transit -

Postby Xplora » Sun Jan 02, 2011 3:17 pm

bendertiger wrote:. Unfortunately in this country if you give a d**khead on a bicycle open slather they'll abuse it...

I would say this is exactly what has happened with cars already. Idiots are just that. It doesn't matter what the situation is. I think a default benefit of the doubt to the cyclist would assist things - but more importantly, the Govt would HAVE to designate certain roads as cyclist friendly. We can't have cyclists hogging lanes on major arterial roads in peak hour. On a 50 and less zone, cyclists FTW. Otherwise, there should be advertised pathways that cyclists should be able to seek out. We've got designated cycleways. Why not a nice blue line down the road to make it easy for drivers AND pedestrians to be extra careful? You could argue that we shouldn't need the Govt to wipe our backsides for us, but my 14 years as a driver has proven otherwise.

Thin Blue Line? What do you think of this as an idea for promoting preferred cycle routes?
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Re: Better Ways to Help Bike Transit -

Postby zero » Mon Jan 03, 2011 11:03 am

Xplora wrote:
bendertiger wrote:. Unfortunately in this country if you give a d**khead on a bicycle open slather they'll abuse it...

I would say this is exactly what has happened with cars already. Idiots are just that. It doesn't matter what the situation is. I think a default benefit of the doubt to the cyclist would assist things - but more importantly, the Govt would HAVE to designate certain roads as cyclist friendly. We can't have cyclists hogging lanes on major arterial roads in peak hour. On a 50 and less zone, cyclists FTW. Otherwise, there should be advertised pathways that cyclists should be able to seek out. We've got designated cycleways. Why not a nice blue line down the road to make it easy for drivers AND pedestrians to be extra careful? You could argue that we shouldn't need the Govt to wipe our backsides for us, but my 14 years as a driver has proven otherwise.

Thin Blue Line? What do you think of this as an idea for promoting preferred cycle routes?


Pointless imo. The safest approach is to take a lane so that you have proper clearance. Every effort to try split bikes to the side results in a significant percentage of motorists giving no clearance at all. Let alone the actual implementation detail of having a council worker paint it - who WILL paint it too close to car door zones and other hazards. Pretty much every road is an arterial road these days, cars grow to fill all space much like fungus, so the whole distinction you are trying to make in your head really doesn't exist anyway. I will get on my bike, and I will take the most direct route to get to where I'm going, and so do many other cyclists. Anything else is pointless, highly likely to be ignored by cyclists and makes for dangerous entitlement type driving. If people see cyclists on every road, all of the time, then they get better at dealing with cyclists safely. In any case, if 5% of the roads were completely cyclist dedicated, I'd still spend 50% of my time commuting between the cyclist dedicated network and the endpoints of my journeys.

The whole car and busy roads problem is completely circular. Car based suburbs and cities are just more spread out, people spend longer in their cars on busier and slower roads anyway. The more modern the suburb, the more likely it is to be laid out in barrier fashion, and the more pointlessly busy the arterial roads surrounding it become. How often have you looked at a recently laid out suburb and found that the only entrance to it, was on the other side, so everyone coming to that suburb from the other direction, has to drive around it, and then through it, instead of just through it.

Not something thats going to be solved with road paint.
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Re: Better Ways to Help Bike Transit -

Postby russellgarrard » Mon Jan 03, 2011 11:32 am

I think unfortunately designating roads as 'cyclist roads' only then further serves to re-inforce the idiot's that 'those damn cyclists are on my road...' instead of OUR roads.

This would be EXTREMELY handy actually designating roads as 'cyclist friendly' but only if they were listed on a website specifically for cyclists. This would help both causes.
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Re: Better Ways to Help Bike Transit -

Postby Xplora » Mon Jan 03, 2011 1:51 pm

Paint is the cheapest and simplest AND most visible way of saying "hey, you'll probably see a cyclist here". Signs fall down and cost a lot of time and money to put up. I'm not in favour of splitting lanes or anything like that. It's simply a symbol that promotes awareness. It's not different to Zebra crossings. It doesn't solve anything, it just makes drivers much more aware of the possibility of a cyclist's presence.

I have been riding the same patch of road for a few months now, at a number of different times, and cars outnumber the cyclists at least 30 to 1. This is on one of the painted "cycle paths" on the road. A major thoroughfare, surely, to the Parramatta CBD. Cyclists just aren't on the road enough in my area to make an impression. Your average driver would see a cyclist once every 2-4 weeks if they drove on these roads.

Around Parramatta/Eastwood, there are a dozen major thoroughfares. Pennant Hills Road, Victoria Road, James Ruse Drive, Hassall St, Great Western Highway, these are roads that cars regularly drive at 60-80kmh side by side without slowing. That's an arterial road - the traffic is a lot busier on these roads, and a cyclist doing 40kmh is slowing people down a lot. Encouraging a cyclist to avoid these roads (and I get the impression most riders believe avoiding these roads is common sense) and showing noob drivers and cyclists a better way to go could be helpful; Paint is an easy way to show that.

The RTA is hell bent on putting up traffic calmers and other rubbish. Paint doesn't prevent anyone from driving anywhere.

The problem I see is that you cannot force drivers to be more vigilant without giving them a reason. The possibility of killing a cyclist that they might only see one or twice a month doesn't really do much to make my driving spider sense to tingle, and my wife and I have been cycle commuting for 5 years.
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Re: Better Ways to Help Bike Transit -

Postby zero » Tue Jan 04, 2011 9:46 am

James Ruse has cyclist markings all over the shoulder, and -all- of the parallel roads near it are just as busy, and just as fast. They are major transport corridors, and bicycles are transport. If the traffic is doing 60 on pennant hills road, then there is room in another lane to pass a cyclist - the lanes only get full when the traffic is backing up and slowing anyway - just like virtually every other major road in sydney. Victoria road I've ridden end to end many times, and I still ride the other end of it daily. Any car that gets caught behind you in the 2 lanes each way bits, gets past you and catches the traffic ahead of them again when you move through a bit with 3 lanes each way, where you can take up the short bit of side lane and let some through.

I lived in carlingford for many years, and I used to commute from there to the city, and out to parramatta occasionally. In any case, I've never held a car behind me for more than a couple of hundred m unless the general traffic speed was similar to mine, and being stuck behind a 30km/hr cycle for 30 seconds costs the driver 15 seconds onto their journey time. Its hardly the end of the world or "slowing traffic down considerably".

By and large the fact that there is a cyclist creating an empty parking spot at the destination is more meaningful in terms of improving overall journey times for drivers, likewise the fact that bicycles move into parking more quickly. I can't count the times when I've been passed absurdly by a driver in a hurry who has then waited patiently for a 30 seconds stationary whilst someone parallel parks - after losing all of 5 seconds from their journey behind me and then 6 times as long behind the parker. That is particularly true of Paramatta where parking can be convoluted.

Your perceptions about what bikes do and do not do to traffic are all wrong.
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Re: Better Ways to Help Bike Transit -

Postby Xplora » Tue Jan 04, 2011 3:10 pm

I'm from the same area (Carlingford), zero, and I'm simply taking a realistic approach to the road. Do cyclists have a right to be on the road? Of course. Do motorists care? Of course not. I'm instinctively pro-motorist because that's the quickest way to make life easier for everyone. You physically can't win, and if you make it easier for the less attentive and skilled drivers to wake up, that has to help. I know that I was an absolute maniac driving past James Ruse, and a worn out cyclist logo on the road (which many people park over the top of) never changed my behaviour. Maybe a line wouldn't help either? I'm just spitballing ideas. Isn't the rule "no point being dead right"? P platers just don't pay enough attention (because they don't understand why its important).

Either way, bikes FTW :mrgreen:
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Re: Better Ways to Help Bike Transit -

Postby high_tea » Tue Jan 04, 2011 3:44 pm

Xplora wrote:I'm from the same area (Carlingford), zero, and I'm simply taking a realistic approach to the road. Do cyclists have a right to be on the road? Of course. Do motorists care? Of course not. I'm instinctively pro-motorist because that's the quickest way to make life easier for everyone. You physically can't win, and if you make it easier for the less attentive and skilled drivers to wake up, that has to help. I know that I was an absolute maniac driving past James Ruse, and a worn out cyclist logo on the road (which many people park over the top of) never changed my behaviour. Maybe a line wouldn't help either? I'm just spitballing ideas. Isn't the rule "no point being dead right"? P platers just don't pay enough attention (because they don't understand why its important).

Either way, bikes FTW :mrgreen:


Pandering to motorists' sense of entitlement is a circular argument. It is the problem, not merely a consideration in coming up with solutions.

P-players aren't any better or worse than any other group of motorists as a whole. There's an attitude problem all right, but it's deeply entrenched and held by motorists in general, not some subgroup. It's the belief, stated or otherwise, that non-motorists have fewer rights. Designated cycling-roads don't help confront this problem one bit.
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Re: Better Ways to Help Bike Transit -

Postby Xplora » Tue Jan 04, 2011 4:58 pm

Sydney roads are some of the most aggressive, psychotic in the world. I've been surprised to find out that a lot of people from even busy country areas like Nowra or Newcastle won't drive there, because it is too stressful. We drive damn hard around here. It's not a question of entitlement, it's a question of getting everyone places as fast and safely as possible. You can't just slow everyone down to a crawl, that's not the point of a car, or even a bicycle. We abandoned walking for a reason. P platers are highly overrepresented in accident stats for a reason. Either way, drivers need a carrot to go with the stick. Stripping them of their "equal rights" regarding liability must be met by an attempt to encourage cyclists to take quieter streets. Not everyone is a legend cyclist who can ride fast enough to keep up with peak hour cars. Helping noobs would be good too - I couldn't ride to the CBD without a lot of help.

That said, I don't know what the stats are for cycling accidents, and whether a quieter street minimises impact or frequency of accidents.
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Re: Better Ways to Help Bike Transit -

Postby Aushiker » Tue Jan 04, 2011 5:35 pm

Xplora wrote:That said, I don't know what the stats are for cycling accidents, and whether a quieter street minimises impact or frequency of accidents.


Hi

This might help inform you.

Andrew
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Re: Better Ways to Help Bike Transit -

Postby high_tea » Tue Jan 04, 2011 11:22 pm

Xplora wrote:Sydney roads are some of the most aggressive, psychotic in the world. I've been surprised to find out that a lot of people from even busy country areas like Nowra or Newcastle won't drive there, because it is too stressful. We drive damn hard around here. It's not a question of entitlement, it's a question of getting everyone places as fast and safely as possible.


Still a circular argument.

You can't just slow everyone down to a crawl, that's not the point of a car, or even a bicycle.

Straw man.

We abandoned walking for a reason.

Beside the point.

P platers are highly overrepresented in accident stats for a reason.


Also beside the point.

Either way, drivers need a carrot to go with the stick.


Pandering to their sense of entitlement by marking some streets as suitable for second-class citizens is obnoxious and unjustifiable. Want to justify it as being helpful to cyclists? That's fair. Justifying it as some kind of payoff for inconveniencing motorists is flat-out wrong.

Stripping them of their "equal rights" regarding liability must be met by an attempt to encourage cyclists to take quieter streets.


Where do you get an equal-rights issue from? The proposal is reversing the onus for torts. What rights are you contending defendants in general, or motorists in particular, have when they're the defendant in a tort case?
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Re: Better Ways to Help Bike Transit -

Postby zero » Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:25 am

Xplora wrote:Sydney roads are some of the most aggressive, psychotic in the world. I've been surprised to find out that a lot of people from even busy country areas like Nowra or Newcastle won't drive there, because it is too stressful. We drive damn hard around here. It's not a question of entitlement, it's a question of getting everyone places as fast and safely as possible.


The two goals are not entirely possible together, and only one of them is worthwhile.

You can't just slow everyone down to a crawl, that's not the point of a car, or even a bicycle. We abandoned walking for a reason.


Actually walking is something people do a lot of because of the size of cars, (distance from parking spot to goal for instance). In any case, bicycles don't slow cars down. Queues of cars slow cars down. Cross traffic (largely other cars) slow cars down. Parked cars block lanes. People waste 5 minutes at the end of a journey finding a parking spot. Doing that causes further queuing for people. Average speeds on arterials are generally within bicycle range, and thats not because of bicycles, its because of cars.

P platers are highly overrepresented in accident stats for a reason. Either way, drivers need a carrot to go with the stick. Stripping them of their "equal rights" regarding liability must be met by an attempt to encourage cyclists to take quieter streets. Not everyone is a legend cyclist who can ride fast enough to keep up with peak hour cars. Helping noobs would be good too - I couldn't ride to the CBD without a lot of help.

That said, I don't know what the stats are for cycling accidents, and whether a quieter street minimises impact or frequency of accidents.


Absolutely not. Bicycles have the shortest range, and the shortest time tolerance, therefore to be usable and to confer MANY benefits on motorists, including faster traffic flow and more parking availability, bicycles must be able to take the shortest, most direct routes. Those are arterial roads for a reason.

As far as reversing the onus goes, most accidents involving drivers involve some degree of the driver not treating the mass of their vehicle with due conservative respect when driving.

Ask your self how many times did you slow down to 40 or below when entering an intersection, just to give yourself more time to assess all the other intersection participants, and prevent any potential accidents being serious. Many drivers don't and thats why the onus should be on them to prove they did take reasonable steps to minimise the chances of a dangerous impact with their vehicle. There is no trade off required there, its actually part of the priviledge of using an overweight vehicle for personal transport, that is poorly understood by motorists as is.
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Re: Better Ways to Help Bike Transit -

Postby Xplora » Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:31 pm

BAH Stupid forum chewed my reply :roll:
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